Reuters / Jason Redmond
- Dr Cesar Albarran-Torres is a lecturer in Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.
- He says Robinhood's "infinite money" error – which allowed premium users to borrow seemingly endless amounts of cash and make thousand-dollar deposits into million-dollar positions – showed the dangers of making investments a game.
- "The infinite influence feature of Robinhood showed how stock trading apps have been built as video games and as gaming platforms," he said.
- "The randomness of commerce makes money more ethereal, like a symbol in a video game, so users tend to treat them like a game credit instead of actual cash," he added. "This means that the gaming system does not seem like a big deal, but rather a playful and consequential act."
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Robinhood's "infinite money" error ̵
"The endless profitability trend in Robinhood revealed how stock trading apps Dr Cesar Albarran-Torres, associate professor of media and communications at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, told Business Insider.
His current research focuses on" gamble-play media " ., or platforms where gambling and interactive media intersect.
Robinhood and similar apps see themselves as tools to make investments "more affordable, more intuitive, and fun" regardless of users' experience levels, however, their efforts to open up financials markets for a general audience to trivialize the complexities and risks of trading, and engage in "gamification" or introduce elements of games as rewards for progress and engagement.
"The casualization of trading makes money more ethereal, as a symbol in a video game , so users tend to treat it like a game credit rather than actual cash, "Albarran-Torres said. "This makes the gaming system not a big deal, but rather a playful and consequential act.
" Of course this is not the case, and there are good ethical and legal implications, "he added.
App users exchanging tips and sharing their experiences can also cause the trend to treat investment like a game.
Several members of WallStreetBets – a subreddit with the keyword "Like 4chan found a Bloomberg terminal" – detailed their use of Robinhood's "endless talk code for money, "posted photos showing their million-dollar positions, and egged each other on.
Another member, Eddie Choi, talked to Business Insider about becoming a night celebrity after learning to trade options on the subreddit, then made less more than $ 1,000 to more than $ 100,000 with two trades.
Robinhood closed the loophole "infinitely much money" and suspended accounts that took advantage of last week. About 20 users abused the error and startup & # 39; Bloomberg's estimated losses were less than $ 100,000, Bloomberg reported, adding that Robinhood is asking regulators questions and can remedy the incident.
Business Insider obtained a copy of the note Robinhood sent to users who exploited the error. It informed them that their accounts are limited to closing transactions only and that they must pay a negative balance within 60 days or be held responsible for the outstanding balance.